The humble tyre lever is a toolbox essential out on the trails, but which one does the best job when it comes to levering off your tyre to change that punctured tube? We put six to the test.
• Price (pair): £4.95 / $5
So good… These stiff resin levers feel sturdy, with their relatively deep section and wide tip, and come with a lifetime warranty.
The chisel-shaped tip has a large radius, which is easy to scoop under the tyre bead. Rounded edges and a slippery finish make it easy to slide the tyre off the rim with a single lever.
Their ergonomic shape means the Pedro’s levers sit comfortably in your palm while wrenching a tight bead off the rim. They even come in a range of bright colours, making them hard to lose in the dirt.
No good… The tip is so long that it sometimes hooks under both beads.
Park Tool TL-4.2
• Price (three): £3.49 / $3.97 / AU$4.84
So good… Park Tool’s plastic TL-4.2s have a wide tip with a precise edge that makes it easy to initially lift the tyre off the rim.
The broad lever body means there’s no noticeable flex while working tight beads off the rim, and the double-sided spoke hook is easy to clip on. There’s even a hole in each lever so you can hang them up for easy access.
No good… The angled tip can cut into the bead slightly, making sliding the lever around the rim more difficult.
A smaller cross section than the Pedro’s levers means the Park Tool levers can’t cope with as tight a bead.
Specialized EMT Pro MTB
• Price (pair): £9 / $12
So good… The metal shank under the plastic coating of these futuristic-looking levers gives them a solid feel and means they should take some abuse. It’s easy to slip the wide tip under tyre beads and lever them off the rim.
The spoke hook is easy to engage too. Unusually, the EMTs clip together using magnets — and have integrated bottle openers!
No good… The shape of the handle means the spoke hook digs into your palm. Because the plastic tip isn’t as slippery as that of the Pedro’s lever, it’s harder to slide around the rim.
They’re the heaviest and priciest levers here too.
Topeak Shuttle 1.2
• Price (pair): £5.99 / $8.95 / AU$10.49
So good… With the Shuttle 1.2, Topeak has combined a short lever, to initially lift the tyre bead, with a longer lever, to get the rest of the tyre off.
The short lever has a tight tip to catch the bead plus a spoke hook, while the long lever provides great leverage and doesn’t flex noticeably.
No good… The plastic isn’t as hard as that used by Pedro’s or Specialized and marked on first use. Because the tip of the large lever is quite shallow, it can drop the tyre.
The short lever doesn’t provide much leverage for initially lifting the bead off the rim.
• Price (pair): £3 / $4
So good… These slim plastic levers from Cannondale are among the lightest on test and the smooth tip is easy to slide round the rim.
No good… The thin levers feel flimsy compared to the competition and flex when used on tighter beads, although we haven’t snapped one yet.
Because the tip of the lever isn’t very long, it can be hard to hook it under the bead of stiffer-walled tyres (there’s not much space before you hit the raised top of the lever).
The small spoke hook is fiddlier to clip on than some of the others here, too.
• Price: £13.48 (set of 3)
So good… Minoura’s alloy ATLs are a modern take on the traditional metal tyre lever. Despite being the lightest levers on test they feel sturdy, with no noticeable flex when removing tight tyres.
No good… It’s difficult to remove tyres with a single lever because the side of the tip digs into the bead as you slide it round the rim.
The tip’s shallow profile can also make it tricky to hook under the bead, and we were worried about it nicking our tubes.
The spoke hook wouldn’t fit around our 14g spokes. We’d be cautious about using metal levers on carbon rims too.